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Longing for Living Water

TO THE READER:

Thank you for being a faithful partner, and using your voice for the voiceless! Your partnership is truly making a difference in Asia. I pray that this story will bless and encourage you as you read how God transformed a broken family through the gift of fresh water. The ministry of Gospel for Asia is about changing lives — both for this life and for eternity, and Jesus Wells are simply one way to do that. As people receive the clean water they so desperately need, it opens the door to share about the source of Living Water, the One who is the reason for the well. As you read this story, consider getting involved by praying, giving or starting a MyGFA campaign.

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DESPERATE FOR MORE THAN CLEAN WATER

Suprita had to trek through the rocky terrain to get water for her family. But there would be no sweet relief when she and her family drank it. The stagnant pond she drew from was full of mud, discarded bodies of dead animals and even human waste. Suprita had no alternative — she risked the possibility of stomach pain and sickness every day because this was the only water available for miles. And this was only the beginning of her problems.


DRUNKEN HUSBAND BEATS WIFE, CHILDRENdomviol

Suprita lived under the constant threat of being beaten by her alcoholic husband Tarosh. Night after night, he came home from his job as a rickshaw driver completely drunk, and harshly mistreated her and her children. None of them could bear the pain and fear much longer.

Suprita knew something had to be done to solve Tarosh’s drinking problem. She begged her gods and goddesses to help her in the hopeless situation she and her family were in, but it did not seem that prayers alone would bring peace to her family. Tarosh continued to drink and hurt Suprita emotionally and physically.


WITCHCRAFT, SORCERY DO NOT SOLVE PROBLEMS

Something more drastic would have to take place if Tarosh was ever going to leave behind his destructive behavior. Suprita decided she would take matters into her own desperate-for-more-than-clean-water-2hands by learning the secrets of witchcraft and the art of sorcery. She offered the bodies of a slain hen and goat as sacrifices. In her desperation, she went to sorcerers and began to call on the spirits of the dead, hoping they would come to her aid. In spite of her dedicated efforts, however, her husband did not change.


JESUS WELL BRINGS RELIEF

In the midst of her struggles with Tarosh, Suprita still had the daily needs of her family to meet. At least one of her burdens was lifted when a Gospel for Asia pastor named Makrand had a well installed in their village. It was a welcome sight and a relief to the villagers. No more would they have to worry about stomachaches, illnesses or death because of the contaminated water they had been consuming so regularly.

Something as simple as being able to bathe in fresh water dramatically changed the way the men and women of the village lived. “My children were going to school without taking baths, and my husband went to work without a bath as well,” Suprita recalled. “We were not able to maintain proper cleanliness due to water scarcity, but after this Jesus Well was installed in our village, my children could take baths every day and go to school clean.”

One day at the well, Suprita ran into Pastor Makrand. As she drew the water she needed, the two began talking about life in general, and Pastor Makrand eventually shared about God’s love.

As the conversation continued, Suprita opened up and found herself sharing even the most painful things about her life with the pastor. While she poured out her heart to Makrand, he listened intently and offered to visit Suprita at her home.desperate_for_more_than_clean_water_3

Not wasting any time, Pastor Makrand and his wife stopped by Suprita’s house the very next day. Suprita was glad to see her new friends and welcomed them into her home. The couple listened as Suprita thanked the pastor for having the well installed in her community, and continued to share about the turmoil in her life. Pastor Makrand told Suprita that Jesus is the only One who could bring the true joy and peace she was seeking. Hearing about Jesus from Makrand stirred Suprita’s heart and made her eager to learn more.


FAMILY FINDS HOPE

Pastor Makrand continued to regularly visit Suprita and talk about the Good News with her. It all began making sense to Suprita, and one day she fully trusted in the Lord for salvation. Suprita had a new heart for Christ, and a new determination to pray for Tarosh. Although his habits had not changed, Suprita did not stop growing in the Lord and praying for her husband.

Pastor Makrand and his wife prayed with Suprita and her children once a week, and Tarosh always left the house during that time. But the group of praying friends persevered, and slowly Tarosh began to change. His bad habits became less frequent, and he would sometimes attend the prayer meetings in his home and listen to God’s Word being read or talked about.

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THANKFUL FOR A NEW LIFE

Eventually, Tarosh’s life changed from the inside out. He, too, trusted in Jesus and began living for Him.

The home that was once filled with scared children, a desperate and weary wife and a careless and violent husband is drastically different today. Tarosh cares very deeply for his family now, and they all worship God together with several other families from the community whose hearts have also been transformed by the Good News.

Suprita did not expect to find more than fresh water at the well the day she met Pastor Makrand. She never would have guessed that a conversation at a well would forever change her life and the lives of her children, her husband and other people in her village.

“I am lucky to get good water from the well,” Suprita says. “Above all, I am so happy that I and my family came to know the Lord through this means.”

Jesus Wells not only give entire communities the clean water that is so desperately needed, but they also provide opportunities for missionaries to build relationships and share the hope of Christ with the people in the village.

If this story has stirred your heart, please donate to Jesus Wells today!



There is Power in Weakness

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“In affliction, then, we do not know what it is right to pray for. Because affliction is difficult, troublesome, and against the grain for us, weak as we are, we do what every human would do. We pray that it may be taken away from us. However, if he does not take it away, we must not imagine that he has forgotten us. In this way, power shines forth more perfectly in weakness.”

– Augustine


HOPE FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY

My family – like many in the U.S. – has been touched deeply by addiction to drugs and alcohol. I’m sure many of you can relate. At one time or another, most of us took drugs or Stevedrank too much, and years of real, vibrant life were lost to the scourge of addiction. However, when one of my brothers was miraculously, instantaneously delivered and healed of addiction to heroin, alcohol and other substances, our entire family was transformed. The miracle we saw in Steve changed us all, and one-by-one we gave ourselves to Jesus.

This dramatic ending (really a beginning for us) doesn’t usually happen, because drugs and alcohol take their toll before a mind and heart addled by narcotics can absorb the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Steve, however, was shown love and freedom by two of the most Godly women I’ve ever met – Ruth Wynne and Betty Adams, of the Jesus House in Oklahoma City. They loved Steve when no one else would, and he responded. Unfortunately, many people die in their addictions, and families are torn apart because they never receive a credible witness of God’s love. If any of Familyyou readers would like to share your story – whether it be sad, painful or glorious – you can post it as a Comment below so others can benefit from your experience.

Tragically, addiction is found all over the world, not only in the U.S. and other affluent countries. Below you can read the account of a family in India that found freedom and healing through the love shared by the people of Gospel for Asia. Transformations take place when we boldly and lovingly care for and empathize with others.

Please read this testimony, then respond by praying for the work of Gospel for Asia, and giving financially to support their efforts. Thank you!



Javesh Crosses the Bridge of Hope

SACHI WATCHED HER HUSBAND BECOME MORE AND MORE DEPENDENT ON ALCOHOL to get through each day. She and Javesh had small children to feed, but whatever money he made, he used on his addiction. The situation grew worse, and their food was beginning to run out.Alcohol

The only glimmer of hope in Sachi’s and Javesh’s lives was that their son Chakor was enrolled in a Gospel for Asia Bridge of Hope center. They knew he was being cared for and given a nutritious meal every day.

While Chakor received the opportunity to learn and grow, things were looking grim for the rest of the family.

One day, during a regular visit to the family’s home, the staff members from the Bridge of Hope center realized how dire Chakor’s family situation truly was. After meeting with the family, they decided to offer Sachi a job as a cook at the center. She was overjoyed at the prospect.

The new job meant income, and an income meant their family wouldn’t have to starve. Sachi was very happy to be able to meet all her children’s needs again.

God Answers Their Prayers

The Bridge of Hope staff continued visiting with and praying for the family, and slowly, Javesh’s life started to change. He stopped drinking alcohol, and he began to use his wages to provide for his family again.

SachiThrough the prayers and friendship of the Bridge of Hope staff, Sachi and Javesh saw the love of Jesus and knew that He cared very much for them. The couple and their children embraced the hope that can only be found in Christ.

Today the family attends the local fellowship together, and their home is full of God’s peace. Not only has their outward situation changed drastically, but their inner lives were transformed as well.

See how your prayers can impact Bridge of Hope children and their families.

Here’s an article that outlines the troubles of alcohol abuse in India.





IT’S BEEN A WHILE …

I don’t know if anybody’s noticed, but it’s been a while since I’ve written anything original here. It’s not that I don’t care, or have a lot of stuff welling up within, because I do – on both counts.

It’s just that my wife and I have gone through several serious life changes in the last six months or so – including a job loss and nine months of unemployment (and counting), a painful separation from our church of 16 years, significant family issues, critical health challenges, and a general re-evaluation of everything I’ve dedicated my life to during the last 30 years.

However, a few things have remained constant:
1) God, and His unending love for us, in spite of our many failings.
2) Our kids, who have been constant rays of support, hope and light. Boy, do we love you!
3) Faithful family and friends. Thank you to the few who almost daily pray for us, talk with us, challenge us, encourage us and love us no matter what.

I can honestly say that it’s during these times we discover who really loves us. We find out who our friends really are. We experience the sacrificial love of God through people (usually the poor, because they empathize), and what’s better than that?

For this, I’m thankful. And I hope to start writing more soon. The Rich Man and the Prayer Warrior has been sitting too long, and needs to develop. I can’t wait to see how Chris and Ming’s journey to Kaifeng goes. Did you know that Jews lived in Kaifeng for almost 1,000 years? Are there any left? I want to find out.

If anybody’s actually reading this, thank you. I’d love to get your comments and hear how this blog has been an inspiration to you or provoked you to think about things in different ways. Ways that open you up to revolutionary avenues of service in the Kingdom of God.

That’s what it’s all about: Serving God and helping to expand His kingdom in the earth. Let’s join together in reconciling the world to God through Jesus Christ, but let’s break out of centuries of self-serving thinking and building monuments to men.

Cast your eyes outward, outward to those around you who have needs, who don’t yet know Jesus. That’s where God wants us to go. That’s where we should pour our time, money, labor and tears.

Why waste all our strength, ideas, talent, empathy and love on an inwardly focused fiasco? That’s what “church” has become for the most part. That’s what we’ve made it through the centuries, and it will be difficult to think in new ways without being called heretics, backslidden, traitors, compromisers and sinners.

Believe me, I know. Because the ones who now make big salaries from the work I helped freely build for 16 years were “blindsided” when we left their church, even though I spent the last two years sharing my anguish and frustration with them. I was stifled. They just weren’t listening. Shouldn’t church leaders listen to the people?

My inability to accomplish the vision God was pouring into me arose because there were no “acceptable” avenues to carry out this vision – it would have interfered with the self-absorbed nonsense that passes as God’s will. Do we really need teaching after teaching after teaching, and endless prayer meetings and altar time? We sit there week after week, month after month, years upon years, and what do we have to show for it?

A bunch of fine teachings, powerful prayer times, sweet fellowship, a new burning and a desire to grow closer to God. And what’s wrong with that?

It’s all inward.

If we’re being honest here, we’ll admit that after our twice-weekly church meetings, men’s or women’s Bible studies, morning prayer meetings, ushering, greeting, tithing, donating and giving, we just don’t have any time left for those ugly, stinky, needy, selfish, greedy people all around us who are lonely, scared, abused and lost.

C’mon now, would Jesus just be a regular church-goer today? Would you overhear Him saying during fellowship hour: “That was a great teaching today – I can’t wait ’til next week.” Then saying virtually the same thing most weeks after that, and never putting those teachings into practice.

Being a good teacher doesn’t make you a good discipler, and what did Jesus command us to do right before He ascended to the Father? “Go, and make disciples of all men.” And when He said “go” He meant “in your going.” He wasn’t telling us to go – He was assuming we’d go. He knew we’d go, constrained by the love of God for the world.

But He does expect us to make disciples as we go. Not just teach people. Not just feed people. Not just pray for people. But make disciples. Train others, lead them by example, give them plenty of opportunities to teach, preach, lead and fail.

Fail? Yes, fail. How else do we learn anything of value without failing hundreds of times first? Maybe it’s just me …

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